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Hugh Blackwell

NC District 86 – Burke County

 

Time to Plan for Reopening with Tailored Conditions

 

Rep. Greg Murphy, the US Congressman for NC’s 3rd Congressional District, is a physician from Greenville, NC. I served with Dr. Murphy while he represented Pitt County in the NC House before he was elected to Congress. He is a very knowledgeable and able medical professional in addition to his legislative responsibilities. Dr. Murphy recently released a video explaining the need to reopen selective parts of the economy, while maintaining certain restrictions that appear effective in suppressing the coronavirus.

According to Dr. Murphy, continuing some restrictions, including washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing should still be viewed as essential to stop the virus spread. However, certain small businesses such as beauty salons, barbershops, and restaurants, are critical parts of our economy. They should be allowed to reopen if they follow appropriate restrictions. These businesses will need restrictions tailored to their specific circumstances, perhaps including staggering appointments, requiring chairs to be 6 feet apart to match social distancing guidelines, ensuring staff and customers wear masks and mandating the cleaning and sanitization of surfaces that one would touch multiple times a day. Additional guidelines for restaurants could include seating being one table apart, no greater than four individuals at a table, and all staff members wearing masks and gloves. The virus has affected all businesses, small to large.  Dr. Murphy emphasizes our need to develop a common-sense approach to reopening.

I certainly agree that we need to immediately plan for phased reopening, area by area, both geographically and by business or activity. We also especially need to focus on how we can avoid further loss of education for students by providing safe space or alternative methods. We cannot know how long the virus will remain a serious threat, but we cannot keep schools and the economy closed indefinitely.  North Carolina must promptly have a plan for fighting the virus while we return at the same time to an economy and society which provides us, after all, with the means to respond to not just the current health challenge but to a myriad of social concerns.  A sound education for our citizens and a robust economy are essential to fighting any health or other threat.

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Representative Hugh Blackwell represents the 86th District in the NC House of Representatives. He can be contacted by email at Hugh.Blackwell@ncleg.net or by phone at 919-733-5805.

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